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Grassley promises votes on judicial nominees after Senate convenes in January

This news story was published on December 31, 2015.
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gavel-justiceWASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley said today that two Iowans who have been nominated by President Barack Obama for federal judgeships will be voted on by the full Senate early next year.

In an agreement between both the Republican and Democratic leaders announced on the Senate floor earlier this week, Iowans Leonard Strand of Sioux City, and Rebecca Ebinger of Des Moines, are two of five judicial nominees who will be voted on before President’s Day. The other nominees who will receive votes are Luis Restrepo of Pennsylvania, Wilhelmina Wright of Minnesota, and John Vazquez of New Jersey. As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley helped lead the effort to reach the agreement.

“These two Iowans are uniquely qualified to be federal judges and have exceptional credentials. I’m glad they will be voted on by the full Senate in short order,” Grassley said.
Grassley recommended Strand and Ebinger to the White House after an extensive effort by a Judicial Selection Commission that Grassley formed after two judges announced their intention to take senior status. The commission was comprised of highly qualified members of the Iowa legal community, and led by Cynthia Moser, a former Iowa State Bar Association president. The commission also included Richard Sapp, Jeffrey Goodman, Harlan D. Hockenberg, and Adam Freed.

These lawyers spent hundreds of hours carefully reviewing applications and interviewing each of the 39 Iowans who submitted applications and sought consideration. Eleven applicants were then selected to participate in a lengthy second interview. The commission’s review included not only these interviews, but also a thorough study and examination of the applicants’ professional history, credentials, and qualifications. The commission then made recommendations to Grassley, who – in consultation with Senator Joni Ernst – reviewed the candidates and their qualifications before submitting his recommendations to the White House.

Strand currently serves as a U.S. magistrate judge in Sioux City for the Northern District of Iowa. He graduated first in his class from the College of Law at the University of Iowa and brings extensive experience in civil litigation from private practice in Cedar Rapids.

Ebinger is a state district judge in Polk County. She graduated from Yale Law School, was an assistant U.S. attorney in both the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa, and clerked for Judge Michael J. Melloy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

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